Achieving Diversity Within Unions by ydb15644


									               Achieving Diversity Within Unions
                                              Mary K. O’Melveny
                                              General Counsel
                                              Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO
                                              0June, 2006


       Union membership has diversified dramatically over the past 3 5 years, due in large
measure to the passage of Title VI1 of the Civil Rights Act which placed upon employers
and unions the obligation to ensure that employment decisions are made in a non-
discriminatory manner. However, during the same period, the percentage of workers who
are represented by unions has declined dramatically. That decline has adversely impacted
non-white and women workers in particular because unionized workers traditionally
receive substantially better pay and benefits than their non-union-represented

           Union-represented workers generall? average higher wages than their non-union
counterparts. In 2005, African-American unio1:xed workers earned an average weekly wage of
$656 as compared to $500 for those not represclited by unions. For Asian workers, the
differences were $809 compared to $744, and ti Hispanic workers, the difference was $673 vs.

$449. Union-represented women over age 16 c im an average weekly wage of $73 1, as
compared to $559 for non-unionized workers. See BLS data, “Median weekly earnings of full-
time wage and salary workers by union affiliatt< and selected characteristics.” This data can be
found at http:i/www.bls.,gov/news.releaseiunioi‘..t02.htm.

              According to a recent study released by the Center for Economic Policy and
      Research, African-American workers represented by unions declined from 3 1.7% in 1983
      to 16.6% in 2004, while Latino workers with union representation dropped from 24.2% to
      11.4% during the same period. In the same time frame, African-American workers
      working in the manufacturing industry dropped from 23.9% to 10.6% of all workers and
      Hispanic workers declined to 13.7% from 30.2%. From the mid-1990’s on, black workers
      in particular have been under-represented in the manufacturing workforce relative to the
      rest of the economy.2 Women workers, by contrast, have increased their numbers in the
      workforce and in unions, making up at least 43% of union members and 55% of newly
      organized worker^.^ Many of these gains, however, are at the low end of the wage scale.

              These changes in the American economic picture have a negative impact on many
      of the important diversity gains for non-white and female workers that took place in the
      years immediately following passage of Title VII. They also have an impact on the
      diversity of union leadership positions since many top union officeholders achieve their
      positions after starting at the work holding positions such as union business agents and
      union stewards.

             Union membership is viewed as an important benefit by workers of color. Studies
      indicate that African American workers represented by unions earn 29% more than their
      non-union counterparts. The “union advantage” for Latino workers is 59% and 11% for
      Asian Pacific American workers. These workers also have more favorable attitudes
      toward unions, according to a 2005 study by Peter Hart Research Associates, finding that
      77% of African American and 7 1% of Latino non-managerial workers would be likely to
      vote for union representation, compared to 53% of the general non-management
      ~orkforce.~   Such preferences are borne out by actual election results. According to a
      2003 study of NLRB election results, proposed units composed of a majority of white
      men have a success rate of about 35% compared to 53% in units with a majority of
                  John S c h i t t and Ben Zipperer, “The Decline I t i African-American Representation in
      I, nions and Auto Manufacturing, 1979-2004,” Center for Lconomic and Policy Research
      (January, 2006). The study also showed that black workers in the automotive industry declined
      during the period studied, while the percentage of Hispanic workers rose slightly.

                “Overcoming Barriers to Women in Organizing and Leadership” (AFL-CIO
      2 )OLt)(hereafter“Barriers I” Report).
                 “Overcoming Barriers to People of Color in Union Leadership” (AFL-CIO ZOOS), p. 3
      (hcreafter 2005 “Barriers II” Report), p. 3.


workers of color and up to 82% where women workers of color in the units were at or
above 75%. 5

        According to findings from research commissioned by the AFL-CIO Executive
Council’s Working Women’s Committee, women traditionally have had very positive
views about unions for many years, though these favorable attitudes have declined
somewhat more recently. Competing demands of work and family obligations have also
deterred many women from joining unions or becoming actively involved within their
unions, as have the lack of substantial numbers of visible women in high level leadership
        Within the AFL-CIO, diversity initiatives began in earnest with the creation,
beginning in the early 1970’s, of “constituency groups” that advanced the interests of
specific groups of workers and sought to develop their ability to exercise power within
the labor movement. Among the first such groups created were the Coalition of Black
Trade Unionists (CBTU), the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), and the A.
Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI). They were followed by the Labor Committee for
Latin American Advancement (LCCLA), the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
(APALA) and, in 1997, Pride at Work (PAW), which represents the interests of gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered workers. These groups have mobilized for broader
EEO achievements and have provided significant training and networking opportunities
for workers within these groups to advance within their unions and to become more active
in political and community affairs. However, notwithstanding the important work carried
out by these constituency groups, diversity has often been difficult to achieve at the
highest levels of union leadership.

       In 1995, the AFL-CIO Executive Council’s Committee on Full Participation,
working with the federation’s Civil Rights Department, presented a report recommending
specific proposals for leadership development, organizing activities and political action
designed to increase the participation of women and minorities within their unions. These

         Kate Bronfenbrenner and Robert Hickey, “Blueprint for Change: a National
Assessment of Winning Union Organizing Strategies” (2003), cited in 2005 Barriers II Report at
p. 3.

          Barriers I Report (Executive Summary).


                                                                                                 52 1
      suggestions included clear policies and model programs designed to foster not only a
      sense of inclusion but also concrete leadership opportunities. The report led to the
      adoption of an AFL-CIO resolution “Diversity and Full Participation” at the federation’s
      1995 convention. (A copy is attached). Among the items included in that resolution was
      “work[ing] in cooperation with ...affiliates and allied constituency organizations to
      increase the levels of participation of women, minority and younger members in all AFL-
      CIO-sponsored programs, events and activities.”

              As noted above, many studies indicate that women and people of color are more
      likely to be receptive to joining unions than their white co-workers. In 2004, for example,
      the AFL-CIO’s Working Women’s Committee examined women’s attitudes toward
      unions, finding that women had been joining unions in far larger numbers than men for
      the past quarter ~ e n t u r y .As discussed more fully below, recommendations for action
      included recasting traditional bargaining issues as work and family issues; providing child
      care opportunities at union events and programs and developing family-friendly policies
      that allow women to participate in a broader range of union activities; increasing
      educational, mentoring and training opportunities and making structural changes to
      increase the number of women in leadership roles.

              In 2005, a commissioned report on “Overcoming Barriers to People of Color in
      Union Leadership” was presented to the AFL-CIO Executive Council by its Civil and
      Human Rights Committee. These studies reported the results of extensive surveys of
      leaders within these groups, as well as of union members more generally. Not
      surprisingly, as discussed in more detail below, they indicated that organizing campaigns
      were more likely to succeed if the lead organizers looked like the workers being
      organized and if the issues they presented were of special relevance to the particular
      group. Recommendations for action included leadership development and training, as
      well as expanded mentoring opportunities. Such goals ensure that future union leaders
      reflect the current face of the workforce rather than an entrenched white male visage of
      the past.

                 Barriers I Report, pp. 5-6.

       The AFL-CIO has taken additional steps to change the composition of its
governing bodies to more closely resemble the racial and gender diversity of its
membership. The federation’s Executive Council expanded to include elected
representatives of the constituency groups as well as other elected union representatives.
The federation strongly supported studies examining leadership paths within unions and
recommending policy changes within affiliated unions, as well as the federation itself.
Changes were made in 2005 to the AFL-CIO Executive Council to add additional seats to
further diversify the composition of the federation’s governing body.8

        The AFL-CIO constitution was also amended in 2005 to adopt a policy supporting
racial and gender diversity among the governing bodies of unions affiliated with the
federation, including a policy that required affiliated unions to ensure that their
delegations to the convention “generally reflect the racial and gender diversity of its
membership.” (See Constitutional Amendment 3: “Promoting Greater Gender and Racial
Diversity in the Federation’s Governing Bodies.” A copy is attached to this paper). A
report issued by the Labor Coalition for Community Action (LCCA), an umbrella
organization of the constituency groups, called specifically for an increase in leadership
diversity in a “Unity Statement” issued at a 2005 National Summit on Diversity. (A copy
is attached).

Concrete Proposals to Promote and Achieve Diversity

           I. Proposals to Increase and Activate Women

       The 2004 “Barriers I” report utilized opinion polling over a seven year period and
evaluated studies of union organizing efforts and women’s attitudes toward unions.
Focus groups composed of working women of diverse occupations and racial
  ~   ~~

           AFL-CIO candidates for the Executive Council are elected at the federation’s annual
convention. The AFL-CIO constitution provides, inter alia, that any slate of candidates
presented to the convention during the process of nominating Board candidates “devote no fewer
than 15 positions to carrying out the commitment to an Executive Council that is broadly
representative of the diversity of the membership of the labor movement, including its women
members and its members of color.” (See attached documents).


      backgrounds were also used to determine how women view their workplaces and the role
      of unions. Additionally, women in elected and appointed union leadership positions at 18
      international unions were asked to identify problems or barriers that impeded the
      integration of women into top positions.

              Some of the survey and focus group data showed that women generally have
      positive attitudes about unions, though those views had declined in more recent years.9
      In some cases, nonunion women had more favorable views of what unions could do for
      workers, though both represented and non-represented workers expressed concern about
      whether unions could deliver on many promises of better job benefits. Many non-union
      women believed that unions were only relevant or active in the manufacturing arena,
      rather than in professional and white-collar jobs.” On the other hand, a majority of these
      women workers held attitudes that in general indicated that unions could make gains with
      these women if they adopted certain changes in policy and communication approaches.*

                  In 2003, 53% of women polled believed that unions were not “effective,” compared to
      only 44% in 1999, and only 38% identified themselves as having “positive” views of union.
      Ironically, during the same period, white men’s “positive” views of unions increased by 12%.
      Barriers I Report, p. 5.

                Id. at pp. 5-6. Paid family leave and equal pay and work hours were cited by many
      non-union women as reasons they would join a union. Id. at p. 6.
                  OveralI, about two-thirds of the women surveyed saw unions as having a key role in
      society, while 7 1 % of women agreed that employees were more successful in the workplace
      where their problems were addressed and solved as a group. Fifty one percent of women


Overall, the survey results suggested that substantial work needed to be done to attract
growing numbers of women to the union movement.

        Women union leaders tied diversity in leadership to long-term union survival,
particularly in light of the impact that diversity has on organizing successes and increased
visibility of unions to potential female members. Most of these leaders expressed a
“sense of urgency” about the need to advance women and saw continuing barriers that
prevented women from entering and remaining in top positions. The recommendations
contained in the report are summarized below:

believed that unions were “innovative” and “able to change with the times,” as cornpared to only
3 1% of male workers. Moreover, a majority of women favor workers over management in
workplace-based disputes. Finally, women stated that they believed the most important reason
for joining a union was to “protect inidividual worker rights on the job so they cannot be taken
advantage of or discriminated against,” and they felt more strongly about this than male co-
workers. Barriers I Report, pp. 24-27.


             Commitment to Advancing Women as Leaders: The report strongly endorsed
      policy changes that would integrate women into core union activities such as politics and
      organizing, rather than relegating them to “women’s departments” or “fair practices
      committees” that are often marginalized (or viewed as such). It also called for staffing
      and hnding support that would enable these departments to grow and promote active,
      ongoing programs. Other recommended policy changes included making high-level
      appointments of women in top leadership positions and hiring more women staff
      members at the international union level. Several women union leaders noted aprovingly
      that some unions have nearly doubled the size of their executive boards to increase
      diversity and have also issued mandates requiring locals to send diverse representatives to
      conferences and other union programs. Some pointed to practices in other countries
      where proportional representation is required at many trade unions. l 2

              Supporting Internal Structures To Activate Women: Despite concern that
      “women’s departments” could marginalized women, most leaders and activists strongly
      supported such offices and programs because of their unique ability to communicate with
      female members on key issues and to educate and recommend actions to increase
      participation at the local and international level. As noted in the Report, these structures
      “generally are responsible for surveying women members to identify the key issues of
      concern; creating plans for addressing and integrating [such issues] into the union’s
      agenda; tracking women’s participation in core union activities, primarily organizing and
      political mobilizing; developing local women’s structures; coordinating women’s
      conferences and trainings; and mentoring women’s participation in leadership at all
       level^."'^ However, absent adequate funding and staffing, such programs cannot serve
      the needs of women members effectively.

                  Barriers I Report, pp. 13- 17. According to the Report, many unions outside the
      linited States require that 30 to 50 percent of union leaders be wornen, with incremental
      increases over several years. Many international labor federations also insist on proportional
      representation requirements. Id. p. 17.

             l3   Id. p. 17


       Training and educational programs were deemed “highly effective” in developing
women leaders and in recognizing the skill and involvement of those women who are
active. It was strongly recommended that opportunities be greatly expanded to allow
more women to participate in these programs, including annual conferences for women
members and staff. Finally, union leaders were encouraged to regularly evaluate the
effectiveness of training and other leadership development programs. Women union
members were encouraged to demand accountability and transparency of the results. l 4

       Develop and Support Policies that Allow Work-Family Balance:

        Women surveyed cited work and family demands as a crucial obstacle to taking on
increased union responsibilities. 15 Not only were work and family issues of primary
importance as potential organizing issues, but they were cited as barriers to more active
union involvement. They strongly supported the creation of family-friendly policies to
enable women leaders to develop or be able to increase their union involvement without
sacrificing family obligations. Many unions do have such policies - such as family care
leave, child care and other support systems - as do some employers, but there are clearly
not enough of them in place across a wide spectrum of employment settings.16 Unions
have taken strong pro-family leave positions in many bargaining and contract
enforcement settings; however, a greater need for such policies clearly exists. Finally, it
was pointed out that key union positions - such as organizers - often involve hectic and
demanding travel schedules or out-of-town assignments that are simply not possible for
many women with family responsibilities. Some women reported on innovative union
approaches to this problem such as assigning organizers by region or in shifts or merging
units or job responsibilities so that more women could share in these duties.

       11. Proposals to Increase and Activate Workers of Color

       l4   ld. p. 17-19.21.
            Barriers I, pp. 8, 13-14,20-21.
         Pregnancy leave options in apprenticeship programs was another suggested
improvement that would benefit working women. Barriers I, p. 20.


             The 2005 “Barriers 11” report included survey results from elected or appointed
      union leaders o f color from all industries, genders, ethnicities and sexual orientation. It
      also sought out the views of professionals working at labor education centers around the
      country. The union leaders (representing a nearly 50% response rate) talked about their
      own paths to leadership positions, their views on continuing obstacles faced by union
      members of color and their recommendations for continued improvement to the overall
      diversity picture. Learning center professionals added their own experiences from
      running training and educational programs over many years. These concerns and
      recommendations are summarized below:

              Mentoring and Leadership Traininrr Programs: Sixty percent of the union
      leaders surveyed reported that their path to leadership positions was supported and
      enhanced by mentoring programs, either formal ones or one-on-one relationships with
      union officers or other leaders. Clearly, such mentoring opportunities must be ongoing,
      not simply limited to initial union activities. Only a small percentage of these union
      leaders identified a formal or informal mentoring program currently being implemented
      by their unions. Thus, many leaders noted that even after achieving some type of
      leadership position, information about policies or administrative structures was not
      always equally disseminated to them or their colleagues in the group. On the other hand,
      7 1% indicated that they had received information about leadership training opportunities,
      albeit not always in the most uniform manner. Financial assistance to attend training
      programs and other internal leadership development events was also identified as crucial
      to the success of such endeavors; 67% of those surveyed said that their unions did provide
      such support. 17

             Networking Opportunities: Most unions now have officially recognized
      caucuses or other groups that permit people of color and women to discuss issues o f
      concern within their union as well as in the larger workplace and community. These
      groups receive financial support from both the local and international unions. Ninety
      percent of the union leaders surveyed were active in such caucuses and 89% believed that
      they were essential to support and develop leaders from within these communities. Most
      unions with such caucuses hold annual or biannual meetings with varied conferences or
      workshops that focus on increased roles within their unions. Participation in the AFL-
      CIO constituency groups was also cited with great approval. Nearly 90% of those
      surveyed were actively involved in these groups and 74% held elected office, with
      financial support and active encouragement from their respective unions. All of these

                  Barriers I1 Report, pp. 5-6.


groups also hold annual meetings and other education and training programs.

        The final areas identified as vehicles for increased participation and leadership
development were the various state labor federations and central labor organizations,
although the percentage of leaders of color was substantially lower within those bodies.”
 The AFL-CIO’s 1995 diversity resolution included a plan to encourage state and local
labor groups to affiliate with the constituency groups to increase their participation. Ten
years later, at least 25 state federations and 30 central labor bodies had enacted changes to
their constitutions to accomplish these objectives. At its 2005 convention, the AFL-CIO
adopted rules changes that made constituency group affiliation with these state and local
labor organizations automatic, an action designed to further encourage leadership

        Overall union policies: While a majority of surveyed leaders (58%) said that
people of color within their respective unions were encouraged to seek office or apply for
advancement, 64% complained that about the lack of a cohesive, ongoing national plan to
achieve diversity and 67% expressed concern that they were not sufficiently involved in
high level policy-making within their unions.” Even though many leaders said that their
unions had adopted a plan to increase diversity at all levels of the union, approximately
half were not convinced it was currently a high priority. Many (75%) expressed the view
that the AFL-CIO, as well as individual union affiliates, should adopt specific numerical
requirements that promote diversity in delegates attending national conventions.

        “Affirmative Action” Efforts: Labor educators participating in the survey also
believed that lack of union affirmative action programs presented a significant barrier to
people of color seeking union leadership positions. These concerns are particularly
relevant as unions consolidate, and as jobs are lost, because potential candidates may
“disappear” or be less able to achieve visible positions due to downsizing and/or reduced
staff funding.20 It was argued that such programs could, if successfully implemented,
reduce the influence of the “old boy’s networks” that still exist, as well as create visible
role models for aspiring union leaders who are women or people of color. Even on less
systemic levels, those surveyed suggested various steps to ensure successful leadership
development, including (a) using instructors at workshops and training programs who are
women and people of color; (b) involving community leaders in such programs and other

       l8   Id. p. 10.

       l9   Id. p. 6.

       2o   Id. p. 9.


      union outreach efforts; e) ensuring that training and mentoring opportunities are located
      in areas with substantial women and minority workers, offered at times when they might
      reasonably participate and provided at reasonable cost; (d) engaging in outreach that
      specifically targets these groups of workers and (e) reaching out to other unions to
      broaden access to potential leaders.

             At the 2005 Diversity Summit sponsored by LCCA, participants identified best
      practices to improve diversity in union leadership, which echoed those made in the
      Barriers I1 Report. This group also urged a change to the composition of elected
      governance structures at every level. They strongly endorsed inclusion of women and
      minorities in “real union decision-making and actively pursuing a civil rights agenda.’72’

      Legal Concerns Affecting the Composition of Elected Officers

              Unions must obviously comply with the nation’s civil rights laws, both in their
      capacity as employers and as worker representatives. Compliance with these laws has
      significantly increased over the past 40 years, and the number of unions accused of
      discriminatory practices has significantly declined. The push to diversify union
      governing structures, however, faces some hurdles not specifically addressed by civil
      rights statutes. These hurdles arise because elections to union office are generally
      governed by the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C.
      5401, et. seq., which was enacted to ensure democratic union elections.

              Title IV of the LMRDA permits the establishment of “reasonable qualifications
      uniformly imposed” on union member eligibility to vote and to run for and hold office.
      29 U.S.C. 5481(e).22 Regulations adopted by the Department of Labor (DOL) indicate
      that these terms are to be narrowly construed, citing Wirtz v. Hotel, Motel and CZub
      Employees Union, Local 6, 391 U.S. 492,499 ( I 968). 29 C.F.R. 5452.36(a). Any
      restriction limiting the ability of union members to hold office must meet this
      requirement. In addition, DOL regulations specifically state that a union

                   2005 “Barriers” Report, p. 13.
                   Section 401 ( e ) of the statute provides: “In any election required by this section which
      is to be held by secret ballot a reasonable opportunitj shall be given for the nomination of
      candidates and every member in good standing shall be eligible to be a candidate and to hold
      office (subject to section 504 of this title and to reasonable qualifications uniformly imposed) and
      shall have the right to vote for or otherwise support tile candidate or candidates of his choice,
      without being subject to penalty, discipline, or improper interference or reprisal of any kind by
      such organization or any member thereof.” 29 U.S.(. $481(e).


       may establish certain restrictions on the right to be a candidate on
       the basis of personal characteristics which have a direct bearing on
       fitness for union office.... However, a union may not establish such
       rules if they would be inconsistent with any other Federal law.

Thus, a union “ordinarily may not limit eligibility for office to persons of a particular
race, color, religion, sex or national origin since this would be inconsistent with the Civil
Rights Act of 1964.” 29 C.F.R. $452.46.

       The DOL regulation cites Schultz v. Local 1291, International Longshoreman ’s
Assn., 338 F. Supp. 1204 (E.D. Pa. 1972), which held that union by-laws allocating
positions along racial lines was an “unreasonable” limitation on the right of union
members to be candidates for office and ruled that the language should be construed to
ensure that such barriers do not exist. See also Donovan v. Illinois Education Assn., 667
F.2d 638 (7thCir. 1982)(striking down union by-laws calling for 8% set-aside of seats in
governing assembly for minority members).23 CJ: Dole v. AFSCME, 715 F. Supp. 1119
(D.D.C. 1989)(rejecting union by-law limiting eligibility for nomination to elective office
to persons under age 65 as violative of the regulations which were required to be read “in
harmony” with the ADEA).

             The author found no cases involving such a scenario. It can be argued that the DOL
regulations would permit set-asides if they were properly justified as serving legitimate union
interests, fostering broad participation in union affairs and providing a temporary process for
elimination of present racial or gender imbalance. See, e.g., United Steelworkers v. Weber, 443
U.S. 193,208-09 (1979)(upholdingtemporary voluntary affirmative action plan reserving 50% of
training program openings for minorities to integrate an “almost exclusively white” workforce).


                                                                                                  53 1
              The Donovan court’s concern was said not to be with racial discrimination but
      rather with the impact such a set-aside would have on the ability of union members to run
      for office under the LMRDA. In the court’s view, there were no facts presented that
      would justify limiting the eligibility of some members to hold office because of the set-
      aside. Absent the presentation of concrete facts demonstrating systematic discrimination
      and/or longstanding and pervasive under-representation of minority group members, or
      some other evidence showing that the set-asides benefitted all members, the court was not
      willing to endorse restrictive eligibility requirements. 667 F.2d at 641-42.24 These court
      rulings effectively undercut numerous union affirmative action efforts directed at
      changing the face of elected leadership positions and have been viewed in the ensuring
      years as prohibiting set-aside efforts.


              Notwithstanding the legal obstacles to elected officer set-asides, it is clear that the
      labor movement can pursue many other successful strategies to increase diversity in
      leadership. Indeed, it has a proud history of adopting many such approaches in recent
      years. It is important to note that the efforts undertaken by unions to foster diversity have,
      in fact, resulted in real and visible changes at all levels of leadership. The remaining task
      is to make those changes bigger and more permanent.

              All of those surveyed for both “Barriers” reports agreed that women and people of
      color need to be visible at every level of union activity, not just marginalized in the civil
      rights department or specific caucuses. Often the most visible work of the union occurs
      in organizing and political action activities, and more women and workers of color need
      to be actively engaged in such work - assignments that are likely to directly affect the
      success of future union organizing drives. Specific outreach efforts must also be
      provided to ensure that these workers are in the “loop” about all union programs,
      activities and leadership opportunities. Increases in training opportunities and the

                   Ironically, the minority set-aside rules did result in real changes to the Illinois
      Education Association’s leadership composition. When the rule was adopted, the IEA had no
      minority officers and none served on the union’s 50-member board of directors. By the time the
      rule was invalidated, the IEA looked very different - one of its top officers was black, the
      composition of the board was 15% minority and 8% of the union’s representative assembly was
      non-white. See Goldberg, “Affirmative Action in Union Government: The Landrurn-Griffin Act
      Implications,” 44 Uhzo State LJ 649, 649-650,667-674 ( 1983). National Education Association
      (of which the IEA is a state affiliate) by-laws were changed after the Donovan ruling to require
      affiliates “to take steps as are legally permissible to achieve ethnic-minority
      least proportionate to its ethnic-minority membership.” Zd. at 65 1, n.22.


commitment of sufficient funds and staff to ensure broad dissemination of information
about them -- as well as support to take advantage of them -- are a matter of financial and
political will.

       Requiring AFL-CIO-affiliated unions to encourage diversity at every level,
including delegations to annual meetings and conventions, will also have concrete
benefits. Adoption of diversity principles (under development by the AFL-CIO’s Civil
Rights and Working Women’s Committees) may also provide additional incentive to
broaden the paths to leadership within unions. In the final analysis, decision-making that
puts women and people of color at the forefront of organizing drives, political and
community campaigns and other efforts to increase membership, as well as highlight the
issues of concern to all workers, will create true diversity within the union movement.

        The labor movement has much to be proud of in working to improve opportunities
for all workers to prosper and achieve important economic and political gains. The fact
that there is more to do does not mean there is failure; it simply means reinforcing
longstanding labor movement commitments to dignity, justice and equal opportunity for
all working people.



Adopted by the AFL-C/O
Twenty-first Constitutional Convention
October 1995, New York, NY

                          Diversity and Full Participation
        In keeping with the instructions of the 1993 Convention, the AFL-CIO through the work
of the Executive Council’s Full Participation Committee, has listened to the interests and
concerns of union ieaders and members in order to expand the discussion within the labor
movement about the need to achieve greater participation and inclusion of women, minority and
young union members at all levels.

        As the labor movement changes in keeping with the evolving workforce, it is essential
that these workers continue to see unions as organizations that provide the best opportunity for
them to have a p o w e h l voice in the workplace and in the community and that their unions
welcome their participation and activism.

        Consistently, members’ own words have supported the federation’s studies showing that
minorities, women and younger members-who make up the fastest growing numbers of new
entrants in the workforce-are substantially more likely to see unions in a positive tight and to
vote for a union in an organizing drive.

        Union members have spoken about the importance of more active recruitment and
training of leaders, the significance of greater visibility for minority, women and young members
in union activities and as representatives of their organizations, the importance of recognizing
and overcoming the barriers to participation and the value of stimulating and encouraging change
throughout the ranks of the labor movement with the strong support of clear policies and
dedicated leadership.

        The AFL-CIO Executive Council in its policy statements has established plans for action
by the federation to review its structures and programs at the national, state and local level and to
work with its affiliates in efforts to achieve full participation.

        The national AFL-CIO will work with its state federations and local central labor bodies
and its constitutionally established trade and industrial departments to assist them in taking every
appropriate action to broaden the opportunities for women and minorities to take part in their
structures, activities and programs and to rise to leadership at every level.

       The federation will also assist the state and local central bodies in developing greater
opportunities for participation by the AFL-CIO-supported constituency groups that represent
women and minority workers in the labor movement.

        Drawing on the experience and knowledge of its affiliates, the AFL-CIO will fi-ame
programs to assist and ad\ ise unions and state and local central bodies in their efforts to recruit
and train leaders fiom among historically under-represented groups of workers and to encourage

      more women, minorities and younger members to step forward to take an active role and voice in
      their own organizations.

             The AFL-CIO will continue to encourage and assist affiliates as they pursue their own
      affirmative action programs to hire, train and promote qualified women, minority and younger
      workers for all positions in their organizations.

             The AFL-CIO will work in cooperation with its affiliates and allied constituency
      organizations to increase the levels o f participation of women, minority and younger members in
      all AFL-CIO sponsored programs, events and activities,

                                        Diversity Principles
                        Submitted by the Working Women’s Committee and the
                                 Civil and Human Rights Committee

1. Diversitv in Convention Deleaations

   The Executive Council should request that all delegations to the AFL-CIO Convention in July 2005
   reflect the composition of the affiliated organization on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender.
   Delegations to future AFL-CIO Conventions shall include representation by people of color and women
   at least in proportion to their representation in the membership of the affiliated union. Affiliates are
   urged to include delegates under the age of 35 in the delegation.

2. Diversitv on AFL-CIO Governing Bodv

   The composition of the AFL-CIO governing body with regard to representationof women and people of
   color, shall be no less than its current level and shall achieve a higher level of diversity by the 2009
   AFL-CIO Convention.

3. State and Local Labor Bodies

   State Federations and Central Labor Councils shall immediately develop a plan to achieve an
   increased level of diversity and submit a progress report on an annual basis to the National AFL-CIO.

4. Leadership Development

   The AFL-CIO shall direct the National Labor College to develop and offer courses for the purpose of
   leadership and skill development for women and people of color and shall facilitate the sharing of best
   practices in training programs among affiliates. Affiliates are urged to provide leadership and skill
   development training to women and people of color and are encouraged to open training programs to
   members of other affiliates.

5. Accountability

   The AFL-CIO, affiliates and state and local labor bodies shall report yearly to the AFL-CIO governing
   body on the representationof women and people of color as elected leaders and staff leadership at all
   levels of the organization.

                                               UNITY STATEMENT
                                              A. Philip Randolph Institute
                                         Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
                                           Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
                                            Coalition of Labor Union Women
                                     Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
                                                      Pride At Work

      The six constituency organizations of the AFL-CIO met on January 15, 2005, in Los Angeles
      during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. conference. We are working with the AFL-CIO to
      convene a Full Participation Conference in July 2005 in Chicago, immediately before the AFL-
      CIO National Convention.

      We wish to express our collective views about the future of the United States labor movement
      and to voice the concerns of organizations representing people of color, women and lesbian,
      gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers within the labor movement, the groups who
      represent the new majority within the American workforce.

      We are united in our commitment to build a strong, democratic labor movement in the United
      States, one that represents the hopes and aspirations of all working people for social and
      economic justice. We believe that there is a crisis within the American labor movement. Declining
      union density, intensified government and corporate attacks on workers and on our standard of
      living, policies of free trade, outsourcing, privatization, attacks on social programs, and union
      busting threaten workers of all colors.

      We reject the policies of discrimination, racism, sexism, and homophobia that are being perpetrated by
      the right wing and by conservative political leaders. We support multiracial unity, working-class solidarity,
      and the full democratic participation of all in the pursuit of progress and prosperity.

      1.     Full Participation
              The leadership of the American labor movement at all levels must represent the rich diversity
      of the American workforce. While there has been some progress over the years, the leadership
      within most unions, especially at the highest decision-making levels, does not reflect the diversity of
      its membership. This presents a problem as unions attempt to represent the interests of all of their
      members. We are concerned about the continuing lack of diversity among various leadership bodies
      within the AFL-CIO, affiliated unions, state federations, central labor councils, and local unions. We
      are also concerned about the proposals to drastically reduce the size of the AFL-CIO executive
      council without a strong commitment to maintain and increase diversity. Representation of constituency
      groups must be ensured.

2.     Oraanizing

       The central challenge facing the American labor movement is to organize the
unorganized. The vast majority of the most successful organizing campaigns in the country
have involved people of color and women. Studies have shown that people of color and women
are more likely to support union organizing campaigns than other workers.

       Yet those responsible for organizing decisions and for leading organizing campaigns
frequently do not include people of color and women. Also, the tremendous challenge to organize
people of color in the South, in the Southwest, and in diverse urban areas lacks adequate support
and resources. The labor movement should not assume that nonunion workers lack any
organization. Indeed many workers of color and immigrant workers participate in their community
through civic, religious, and other forms of “identity- based“ organizations that are potential allies of
the labor movement. Time and attention to cultivate labor and community alliances to support
organizing are crucial. The constituency organizations are uniquely positioned to build strong,
enduring bridges of solidarity between unions and civil rights, religious, women’s, immigrant,
minority and LGBT organizations.

        We need to strengthen industrial targeting and multi-union organizing campaigns to maximize
the strength of the labor movement. We must ensure the inclusion of people of color and women in
all decision-making processes to organize the unorganized.

3.     Leqislative and Political Action

        We support a strong, unified labor movement that works as one to elect politicians who are held
accountable for aggressively advocating for and implementing a working people’s agenda. Communities of
color and women have traditionally maintained a much more progressive voting record than
others. Unions should continue to invest resources to register, mobilize, and turn out voters in
communities of color and in union households. People of color and women must be involved in all
levels of decision making with regard to political action.

        All efforts to block or dilute political participation among communities of color must be
aggressively opposed by the U.S. labor movement. Efforts to demonize andlor scapegoat people of
color, women, LGBT, and immigrants must be exposed and resisted. Unions must continue to workin
coalition with allies to defend and expand voting rights for all Americans and demand greater
access and protections for the basic right to vote.

      4.    Civil, Human, and Women’s Rights

             The U S . labor movement must defend and expand a comprehensive agenda for civil,
      human, and women’s rights. While we support the focus on organizing and political action, these
      cannot be separated from a strong civil, human, and women’s rights agenda. The Civil, human, and
      women’s rights agenda must include:
             *   An end to all racial discrimination at the workplace and defense of affirmative action;
             *   An end to all gender discrimination at work, support for pay equity, and an end to
                 violence against women;
             *   Full labor rights, legalization, and comprehensive immigration reform for all immigrants
                 and a repeal of employer sanctions;

                 Access to all rights and protections of Civil society for lesbian, gay, bisexual
                 and transgender workers.

      5.    Globalization

              We demand an end to policies of free trade and corporate-dominated globalization. The
      policies of corporate domination have exacerbated economic inequality and promoted a
      race to the bottom. Economic inequality has had a particularly devastating impact on the
      developing world, especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We oppose global exploitation
      and global racism. We support the expansion of global labor solidarity. We support freedom of
      association and the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced labor, the abolition
      of child labor, and the elimination of discrimination in the work place (the core principles
      of the International Labor Organization.)

              In conclusion, we believe that “Full Participation” is more than a worthwhile slogan. In
      order to achieve the potential of a strong, unified labor movement, we must all fully participate in
      governance and the development of labor‘s agenda. The constituency organizations of the AFL-
      CIO are eager to work side by side with union leaders to organize, educate, and empower all
      workers. Building a more powerful and more inclusive labor movement requires labor‘s
      commitment to diversity, and active implementation of full participation.

                   Expanding the General Board

Article XI of the AFLClO Constitution establishes a     Therefore, the Executive Council proposes the fol-
General Board, comprised of all of the members of       lowing amendments to Article XI, sections 1 and 4:
the Executive Council and the principal officer of
each affiliated national or international union, the    Amend Article XI, Sections 1 and 4 to read as
principal officer o each trade and industrial depart-   follows:
ment and regional representatives of state central
bodies. The General Board meets upon the call o    f                                               f
                                                        1. The General Board shall consist of all o the
the president or the Executive Council and decides      members of the Executive Council and the principal
all policy questions referred to it by the executive    officer of each affiliated national or international
officers or the Executive Council.                      union, the principal officer o each trade and
                                                        industrial department, a representative o eachf
The proposed amendment would expand the                 national constituenCy organization and
General Board to include a representative of each       allied retiree organization recognized by
national constituency organization and allied retiree   the Meration and regional representatives o       f
organization recognized by the AFLCIO. Currently,       the state, area and local central bodies selected
there are six recognized constituency organizations:    by the Executive Council pursuant to a system
the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific     promulgated by the Council.
American Labor AIliance, the Coalition o Black
Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union           4. Questions shall be decided in accordance with
Women, the L b r Council for L t n American
                ao                 ai                                              f
                                                        the applicable provision o Article IV, Section 18
Advancement and Pride at Work. There is one recog-      with the principal officer of each affiliated national
nized allied retiree organization: the Alliance for     or international union casting votes in the number
Retired Americans.                                       f                                      f
                                                        o its members, the principal officer o each depart-
                                                        ment casting one vote, the representativeof
In addition, the amendment would expand the             each constituency organization and allied
General Board by adding regional representatives of     retiree organization casting one vote and
area and central labor councils, just as the General                                   f
                                                        the regional representatives o the state, area
Board now includes regional representatives o state     and local central bodies casting one vote each.
federation These new representatives, like represen-
tatives o trade and industrial departments, would
         f                                              [The rest of the .Section remains unchanged.]
each be entitled to one vote.

                                                                                                                 54 1
        require the affiliation of AFL-CIO constituency        I To ensure diversity at the highest levels of the
        groups. These groups, under the umbrella o the                                       f
                                                                  AFL-CIO, representatives o the six constituency
        Labor Coalition for Community Action, are vehi-           groups should be added to the federation’s
        cles for women, people of color and lesbian, gay,         General Board; measures to ensure and enhance
        bisexual and transgender workers to make their            gender and racial diversity on the Executive
        voices heard;                                             Council should be strengthened; and the
                                                                  Executive Committee should include representa-
      IUrge affiliated national unions to sign a set of           tives who ensure diversity by race and gender;
       diversity principles, to be developed by the Civil         and
        Rights and Working Women’s committees and
        approved by the Executive Council, and provide         I Propose and actively support any amendments
        for affiliated national unions to report annually        to the AFL-CIO Constitution that may be needed
        on the representation of women and people of             to implement these policies.
        color in their membership as well as in staff and
        elected leadership positions at all levels. Require    America’s union movement must stand as a model
        the AFL-CIO Executive Council and other govern-         f
                                                               o full inclusion. We cannot ask more of broader
        ing bodies as well as state federations and central    society than we are willing and able to do ourselves.
        labor councils to develop targeted levels of leader-   We cannot build a better future for working families
        ship diversity and plans to reach them by the          without the full strength brought by brothers and
        2009 Convention;                                                f
                                                               sisters o every description. In our hiring, organizing,
                                                               representation, outreach and leadership, the union
                                                               movement must embody o u r goal o equal welcome
                                                               and equal opportunity for all.

      RESOLUTIONS AFL-CIO   2005                                                                                    11

                       A Diverse Movement Cdls for
                                    Submitted by the AFL-CIO Executive Council

A      T THE MERGER o the AFL and CIO 50 years
        ago, America’s union movement recognized
we are stronger when we are united and inclusive.
In the tumultuous years that followed, the new
                                                           the world as a model o openness, fairness and
                                                           opportunity. We will not allow women, people o
                                                           color, gay or lesbian workers or brothers and sisters

                                                           with disabilities to be denied the fruits of their labor
labor federation became a close partner of the civil       in the workplace. We cannot be less vigilant and
rights movement, and nine years after the merger                         f
                                                           demanding o ourselves. Building a stronger union
we were key t o passage of the landmark Civil Rights       movement to improve the lives of working families
Act. We also were instrumental in passage o the
                                              f            will require all of us, working together. If we fail to
Equal Pay Act of 1963 to protect working women             hear every voice and to speak for every worker, we
from wage discrimination. Since then, the union            all are weakened.
movement has spoken out for equality for all people
                                                     In 1993, the AFL-CIO formed a Full Participation
regardless of race, ethnicity,gender, faith, age, sexual
orientation, disability or immigrant status.         Committee, which in 1995 reported on the need
                                                     for more active recruitment and training o leaders
But beneath the highlights of our fight for justice                         f                     f
                                                     and the importance o greater inclusion o people
in the workplace and American society, the vestiges    f
                                                     o color, women and young members in union
o a divided past remained. Throughout our history, activities and as representatives o their organiza-
the union movement has struggled to remove the       tions. It also highlighted the need to recognize and
remnants o our own “-isms” as well as those of
            f                                        overcome bamers to participation and to support
the broader society.                                 sound policy and dedicated leadership that would
                                                     work toward achieving change. When the current
That struggle continues today. Despite decades of    executive officers were elected in 1995, they expanded
progress, the union movement acknowledges we         the Executive Council to include more women and
have not met our goals: that unions must reflect the people of color at the very top ranks of America’s
diversity o our communities and union movement
           f                                                                               f
                                                     labor movement. The 1995 report o the Full
leadership must reflect the diversity o our members. Participation Conference recommended that unions
In too many cases, women and people o color still
                                         f           develop leadership education and training programs
are underrepresented among union leadership. It      for our diverse membership and that we develop
is understandable that many women and people         policies and practices to foster diversity in staff
o color-the workers who are among those with
  f                                                  hiring, appointments, program assignments and
the most to gain from union membership and           delegate status to achieve full participation.
who are most actively organizing t o d a y 4 0 not
 feel welcome.                                       Last year, the AFL-CIO’s Working Women’s
                                                     Committee conducted research on the factors
 It is incumbent upon the union movement to stand deterring women from joining unions and becom-
 before employers and governments in every part of    ing more involved as leaders and activists. That

 RESOLUTIONS   -   AFL-CIO   2005                                                                                     9

   study, released in March 2004, found women had                tomorrow if given the choice, the increase in the
   been joining unions in larger numbers than men                numbers of African Americans, Asian American
   for the past 25 years and union election campaigns            and Pacific Islanders, Latinos and other people
   were more likely to succeed among predominantly                f
                                                                 o color among newly organized workers is not
   female workforces or if the lead organizer was a              matched by an increase in representation at
   woman. Nonetheless, unions were losing ground                 leadership levels.
   with working women: Polling showed women’s
   favorable attitudes toward unions declining. The          To live up to the values that fuel our work for
   Overcoming Barriers to Wonlen in Organizing and           working families, to build a stronger union move-
   Leadership report recommended investments in              ment and to ensure that union solidarity embraces
   reaching out to working women; recruiting and             all brothers and sisters, we must act decisively to
   training more women organizers; focusing on               ensure diversity at every level and hold union
   traditional economic issues for women such as             organizations accountable to diversity standards.
   equal pay, work hours and balancing work and family;      We must go beyond acknowledging where we fall
   and demonstrating that unions work effectively            short and move into full and committed action.
   for working families. The study also found women          Specifically, we will:
   perceived a lack o commitment among union
   leaders to advancing women and increasing the             I Increase training and leadership development of
   ranks o women labor leaders would require                     state federation and central labor council leaders
   structural changes in union leadership, training,             and staff to build capacity among a diverse group
   mentoring and accountability measures.                        of leaders in our movement;

   The An-CIO’s Civil Rights Committee recently              m   Accelerate our efforts to attract and recruit a
   commissioned a study by Silas Lee, Ph.D., o Dr. Silas         diverse pool of young people into the labor
   Lee and Associates, on overcoming barriers to full            movement through Union Summer and targeted
   participation by people of color in today’s labor             public outreach;
   movement. Preliminary results show the barriers
   identified by unionists of color are strikingly similar       Establish as federation policy that each national
   to those noted in the Overcoming Bam’ers to Women             and international union and organizing commit-
   m Organizing and Leadership report:                           tee’s credentialed delegations to the Am-CIO
                                                                 Convention shall generally reflect the racial
         Many people o color perceive that union                 and gender diversity of its membership and urge
         organizations lack the commitment to address            affiliates to include young workers as delegates;
         their concerns and open paths to leadership. It
         is common to hear that people of color consider     rn Require diversity in participation at AFLCIO-
         themselves taken for granted by the union               sponsored and -supported conferences and
         movement, being seen as a reliable support base         trainings;
         requiring little investment.
                                                             rn Make the AFL-CIO itself a model of hiring and
   I Leadership is dominated by white males and
    I                                                            promotion practices for women and people of
         often is seen as entrenched and closed to entry         color;
         by people o color.
                                                                 Expand the preliminary work done through the
   I There are limited means to identify, train, mentor
    I                                                            Union Cities and New Alliance processes to fully
      and open doors to future leaders o color at all
                                        f                        integrate the AFL-CIO constituency groups into
         levels o the union movement. Although people
                 f                                               state federation and central labor council pro-
         of color are most likely to join unions and             grams and leadership. Amend the federation’s
         to report in surveys they would join a union            rules governing these organizations as needed to

                                                                                             RESOLUTIONS AFL-CIO   2005
544 lo

Promoting Greater Gender and Racial Diversity
    in the Federation’s Governing Bodies

The proposed amendment would make four changes            that is broadly representative of the diversity of the
to the federation’s governance structure to continue      labor movement, including women and people of
and build on our progress and better ensure the           color, by establishing this principle in the section of
federation’s governing bodies reflect the gender          the Constitution authorizing the Executive Council
and racial diversity of the membership of the labor       to fill vacancies on the Council. The amendment
movement.                                                 directs the Executive Council to fill vacancies consis-
                                                          tent with the federation’s goal of achieving racial
First, the amendment would establish a policy that        and gender diversity on the Council.
each national or international union’s delegation to
an AFL-CIO Convention shall generally reflect the         Finally, the amendment would authorize the
racial and gender diversity o that union’s member-        Executive Council to establish and fill up to three
ship. This policy would take effect at the federation’s   additional vice presidencies in order to increase the
next regularly scheduled convention (i.e., 2009 on        racial and gender diversity of the Executive Council.
the federation’s four-year Convention cycle). Unions      The vice presidencies established under this section
would be expected to make every effort to ensure          would not be permanent seats, but would expire at
their AFL-CIO Convention delegations reflected            the next regular Convention.
the racial and gender diversity of their membership,
recognizing that changes may be needed to their           Therefore, the Executive Council proposes the
union’s approach for selecting or designating             following amendments to Articles IV and VI:
AFL-CIO Convention delegates in order to meet
this requirement.                                         A. Amend Article IV, Section 4(a) by adding to
                                                          the end the following: Each national or inter-
Second, the amendment seeks to build upon recent          national union and organizing committee
progress in diversifying the Executive Council by         delegation shall generally reflect the racial
increasing by 50 percent the number o vice presi-
                                       f                  and gender diversity of its membership.
dent positions that must be filled by women and
people o color on any slate o vice presidential
        f                                                 B. Amend Article VI, Section l(f)to read as follows:
candidates presented to the Convention. Under the         The Vice Presidents shall be elected by plurality vote,
current language, adopted by the Convention in            and the 51 candidates receiving the highest number
1995, at least 10 seats on any slate must be filled by    of votes shall be elected. In the event of a tie vote,
women and people of color; the proposed amend-            a second vote shall be taken only among the candi-
ment would increase this requirement to 15 seats.         dates whose tie prevented the election o 51 Vice
                                                          Presidents. The candidates for Vice Resident shall
Third, the amendment would further express the            be listed on the ballot in the order in which
federation’s commitment to an Executive Council           nominated. 4ny slate for vice presidential candidates

      presented to the convention during the nomination         diversity of the membership o the labor
      process shall devote no fewer than 40 15 positions        movement, including its women members
      to carrying out the commitment to an Executive            and its members of color.
      Council that is broadly representative of the diversity
      of the membership of the labor movement, includ-          D. Amend Article VI by adding at the end a new
      ing its women members and its members o color.
                                                   f            Section 5: In furtherance of the Federation’s
      Each ballot must, to be valid, be voted for 51 candi-     goal of achieving an Executive Coancil that
      dates for Vice President and must cast the full voting    i broadly representative of the diversity
      strength o the delegate or affiliate voting.
                f                                               of the membership of the labor movement,
                                                                including its women members and its
      C. Amend Article VI, Section 4 to read In the event       m m e s of color, the Executive council may
      o a vacancy in the office o Vice President by reason
       f                         f                              create up to three additional vice presiden-
      o death, resignation, or otherwise, the Executive
       f                                                        cies and fill thes positions with individnals
      Council shall have the power to fill the vacancy by       who will increase the racial and gender
      majority vote of all its members for the remainder        diversity of the Council, Such additional
      of the unexpired term, consistent with the                vice presidencies shall expire at the next
      Meration’s goal of achieving an Executive                 regular Convention.
      Council that i broadly representative of the


To top